The Invicta Stegosaurus was the First Museum Quality Stegosaurus Dinosaur Toy
The Invicta Stegosaurus
When I went into the American Museum of Natural History in 1979 I was hoping to pick up a few SRG Dinosaur toys. There weren't any. So sad. What there were, were the Invicta, British Museum of Natural History certifiable (and ostensible 1/45 scale) Dinosaur toys. Megalosaurs, Tyrannosaurs,Triceratops, a huge Diplodocus, a Pteranodon and this one, the Invicta Stegosaurus. So glad! These were/are beautiful models. The detail work is truly (well, was truly) astonishing. I bought a bunch of these, of all of the above, and reveled in my new purchases. I also struggled with taking them on the train (subway/elevated) back up to the Bronx where I was staying. Peeking in my bag all the way home....
These previously unimagined figures were, for the most part, way too large to go with my Marx Dinosaur toys... which made no difference to me whatsoever. They were far more highly detailed and seemed, at the time, to be about as good as Dinosaur toys could get.
The colors were for the most part, earthy tones, but the Invicta Stegosaurus was a ghastly pink. Where did this come from?
Its immediate predecessor was the Marx Stegosaurus which had been about the only Stegosaurus Dinosaur toys since 1955. These were 4.5" long and given that their length was determined by Marx to be twenty feet (20') they were in ~1/53 scale. Reality puts them in 1/80 scale.
The new Invicta Stegosaurus are six and one-quarter inches (6.25", 16.5 cm) long (and weigh-in at one and five eighths ounces, 1.625 oz- 45 gms) and the British Museum determined that the Stegosaurs were "5 meters" in length; therefore these would be 1/31 scale. Current estimates are that the Real Stegosaurus was more in the range of nine meters (29 feet) in length, making these models a true 1/56 scale. The primary improvement over the Marx figure was in the shape of the head, particularly when viewed from above. The Marx has a strangely viper-like triangular head while the Invicta Stegosaurus has a much narrower (and realistic) head shape.
Of potential Dinosaur toys predators the first to be considered would be the semi-retired Marx Pot-Belly T-Rex. By 1974 this was nearly out-of-production and clearly out-of-shape. This once might Tyrannosaurus was by now considered more a collectible than a serious contender.
The (pot-bellied) Marx Allosaurus was also a bit out of shape to take on the Invicta Stegosaurus. However, the new, "sleek", Marx revised T-Rex, was another story and these proved to be high level predators even for these
"new" Stegosaurus on the Dinosaur toys scene. Pink tasted good too.
The head of the Invicta Stegosaurus is very nicely, if simply, detailed, with just a hint of the speckling seen on the body. The detail overall is really excellent and far better than that of the Marx Stegosaur. But, still, there is that pink color.... This is one that I (partially) hand-painted thirty years ago
and you can see how well the paint (I don't recall what kind of paint either) has lasted. This guy is one of my originals and he has been knocking about in a box with Invicta Stegosaurus and other figures for three decades.
This photo (above) of a small herd of Invicta Stegosaurus can be seen being stalked by the most dangerous Dinosaur toys predator of the 1970s & 1980s, the fearsome (and 1/38 scale) Invicta Megalosaurus (below).
In 1988The Carnegie Collection of Dinosaur toys was introduced and their bright, accurate (Carnegie Museum certified) pre-painted figures became instant successes. To compete Invicta began a short-lived line of their own painted figures, which they discontinued after only a few years.
In 2004 the relationship between Invicta Plastics, Ltd. and the British Museum of Natural History came to an end and that year, presumably, is when these went out-of-production. I understand that the British Museum still has some available, hidden away somewhere in the back and others may also still have some new figures lying around. Overall, though, these are no longer available from stores (or museum shops) and should be considered as collectibles. The painted figures are quite nice but I understand that the paint was rather fragile. Possibly more so than the paint I used on my own, otherwise unpainted/unfinished Invicta Stegosaurus. One day I may get back to finishing him.... (How long did Michelangelo take to finish the Sistine Chapel anyway?) In any event these are still findable on venues such as eBay, flea markets, garage sales and the like. They should be considered as collectibles. After all, they are members of the first series of truly "Museum Quality" Dinosaur toys and these are among the better figures in that series. I would say that as of this writing $8-10.00 would be fair, more for the factory painted versions. I would not suggest that these be provided to small children as they are made of a moderately brittle plastic. plus they have numerous small, thin parts (the spikes, plates and head) that could be easily swallowed. MY only quibble with these (and post facto quibble it is) is that the tail is positioned as dragging along the ground. Since that was about what everyone believed at the time of their manufacture, though, this cannot be considered as a flaw. It wasn't until the introduction of the more dynamic Carnegie Stegosaurus in 1988 that there was even a challenge to the Invicta Stegosaurus for the Dinosaur toys spiked-tail crown.
--(The following is an addendum, the May 20, 2010 Green Invicta Stegosaurus blog entry.)--
Pretty in Pink or Green with Envy
About three weeks ago I was the recipient of one of the biggest surprises in my nearly sixty-year career of Dinosaur toys collecting.
I received a Contact-O-Saurus fossil-gram (email) from a collector in Australia who had just purchased a dark GREEN INVICTA STEGOSAURUS on eBay.
(Thank you - Picture Courtesy Damien Kelly from Melbourne, Australia)
He had never seen one in green and neither had I. All the many Invicta Stegosaurs in my experience have been pink. Various shades of pink but none verging on green. The only dark green Invicta figures I knew of are the Brachiosaurus and the Megalosaurus.
(Picture Courtesy Damien Kelly from Melbourne, Australia)
My first suspicion was that this was somehow a bootleg 'copy' of the Invicta figures. I asked him for pictures and one he sent was of the 'belly of the beast' which clearly includes the Invicta-NHM logo. Definitely Invicta!
(Picture Courtesy Damien Kelly from Melbourne, Australia)
Contact with other Dinosaur figure experts came up negative. No one had heard of these in green.
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